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Confederate Flag and White Robe Presented to Black Teacher at CareerTech Conference

A black teacher was presented with a white robe, hood, and Confederate Flag at a Career Tech meeting last week in Oklahoma City.

Larry Long, a retired agriculture teacher in Elk City, was being recognized for nearly 45 years of service at the meeting, when he asked his black colleague to join him in front of the crowd, and presented him with the robe and flag. 

Paula Bowles, the Chief Communications and Marketing Director for CareerTech, said they have launched an investigation to figure out exactly what happened, and are taking steps to ensure this type of thing never happens again.

"It was deplorable. We don't tolerate it. It's unacceptable," Bowles said. "It was one incident, but we are taking it very seriously. It is not representative of the CareerTech system."

Senator Kevin Matthews says members of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus learned of the event on Tuesday—and were outraged.

"And it was supposed to be some kind of a joke, but I haven’t talked to anyone that can see anything funny about that," he said.

But he's happy to hear Career Tech is taking swift action and will now hire an inclusion officer.

"These things happen because we don’t have enough diversity and a conscience in the room of the decision makers when events like this are taking place," said Matthews. 

Matthews says the Black Caucus has asked that if Long serves on any public boards, that he be removed immediately.

Emily Wendler was KOSU's education reporter from 2015 to 2019.
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